Do you need a laptop? What about a lapdock instead?
With smartphones becoming increasingly powerful, why do we still lug around heavy laptops or additional hardware when our pocket devices perform the same functions as computers?
Enter the lapdock—a device you can use to transform your smartphone into a laptop. With a lapdock, you could eliminate the need for a traditional computer.
Read on to learn about lapdocks, including what they are, how to use them, and how they could replace your laptop.
What Is a Lapdock?
In essence, a lapdock is simply a device that can turn your smartphone into a laptop.
Lapdocks look very similar to laptops, as they also have a screen, keyboard, and battery. However, the difference is that lapdocks don’t have their own computing components, like memory, a processor, or storage.
This is where your smartphone comes in.
Compatible smartphones can be docked or connected to a lapdock, providing the lapdock with its missing computing components. Your smartphone provides the software; your lapdock is the hardware. Together, the lapdock essentially transforms a smartphone into a laptop.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Lapdock?
There are many benefits of using a lapdock, including:
- Portability: Thanks to their lack of computing components, lapdocks are lightweight and portable.
- Long-lasting battery: Lapdocks use little energy as they’re working primarily as a monitor output.
- Universal Screen: Lapdocks can connect to almost any device that needs a monitor output—including the Nintendo Switch.
- Phone capabilities are not compromised: You can still use your smartphone as a phone when it’s connected in desktop mode. The phone itself also doubles up as a second screen.
- Consolidated apps and documents: All of your programs and apps are in one place—rather than shared across multiple devices. You also receive all notifications on just one device.
- No overheating: With no OS, memory, or CPU, a lapdock doesn’t have a noisy fan and won’t overheat.
- Touchscreen and tablet capabilities: Many lapdocks can be used as a touchscreen tablet, as well as an external monitor.
- Charge Your Phone: Lapdocks can charge your phone when connected and in use.
Investing in a lapdock could eliminate the need for multiple devices, giving you a more minimalist setup.
Which Devices Are Compatible With a Lapdock?
Currently, certain spec Android phones are the only compatible devices, including recent Samsung models.
The(Desktop eXperience) software was introduced in 2018, allowing compatible Android phones to function as a desktop computer when connected to a monitor or similar output source. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and newer models are compatible with a lapdock.
Non-Samsung smartphones with Android 10 are also compatible, as they have a hidden desktop mode. An Android 10 device plus video output support via USB-C may also grant you the ability to use a lapdock with your smartphone.
Leading lapdock manufacturer,, sheds some light on compatibility with its list of requirements for its own lapdocks:
- Android smartphones must run Android 10.
- Android smartphones need to support DisplayPort Alt Mode or video output over USB-C.
- Smartphones with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and a USB 3.1 Type-C port should support DisplayPort Alt Mode (unless the phone vendor deliberately disabled it).
It’s worth checking out what operating system and video output your smartphone has before purchasing a lapdock.
Even though few devices can currently output the full features of a lapdock, this number is expected to increase as the technology gains traction.
Where Can I Buy a Lapdock?
As lapdocks are still relatively new, there are few on the market. Even the previously mentioned NexDock is currently only available for preorder.
However, as with most developing technology, you can buy premium Chinese-manufactured lapdocks, such as the, from online retailers.
How Much Do Lapdocks Cost?
Purchasing a brand new, branded lapdock may set you back anywhere between $399 and $549, but you can buy great quality lapdocks from other manufacturers for a lower price.
It’s worth spending some time researching various lapdocks and retailers which sell them. Google Shopping and AliExpress are good places to look for technology deals. Don’t forget to seek out user reviews before buying, though, and be wary of scam sellers.
Are There Any Downsides to Using a Lapdock?
No single technology is perfect, and the lapdock is no exception. Reports of bad quality speakers are common (although this can be easily rectified with an external audio output).
There are also limits to what you can do on a lapdock versus what you can do on a laptop. Your smartphone has its limitations, and if you’re wanting to do some heavy video editing or serious gaming, you might want to stick with a traditional laptop.
Will Lapdocks Replace Laptops in the Future?
With the dawn of cloud computing, the gap that lapdocks fall short of—high-powered gaming, for example—could be filled.
In any case, if you’re looking to slim down your tech gear and you have a high-powered smartphone, a lapdock could be the answer.